Noted St. Olaf conductor to lead multi-school band at La Sierra
September 30, 2009
By Darla Martin Tucker
RIVERSIDE, Calif. – ( www.lasierra.edu ) Well-known band conductor Timothy Mahr is typically booked far in advance for guest performances and Ken Narducci knew two years ago he had to make his request then. He wanted Mahr, a friend and fellow conductor and composer from St. Olaf College in Minnesota, to guest direct this October’s multi-school band clinic at La Sierra University.
Not only did Mahr agree to the performance, he later composed for the clinic’s main performance, a work for band and organ under commission from the university and schools participating in the clinic. The piece titled “Fidelitas” is based on an original organ composition Mahr penned for his brother’s 1981 wedding.
The 2009 LSU Invitational Band Clinic is slated for Oct. 7-10 and Narducci, La Sierra’s director of wind and percussion studies, is in the homestretch making final preparations. The event will involve 75 students and teachers from six Seventh-day Adventist academies in Riverside, Loma Linda, Glendale, Newbury Park, San Diego and Scottsdale, Ariz. In July Narducci mailed sheet music to the academy students and in September made several road trips to listen to the young instrumentalists audition for seats in the clinic band.
The students will hunker down for three days of sectional and full group rehearsals in preparation for an Oct. 10 performance under Mahr’s direction. The free concert will take place at 4 p.m. at the La Sierra University Church, 4937 Sierra Vista Ave., Riverside. Dr. Elvin Rodriguez, La Sierra’s director of keyboard studies and music technology, will play the organ during the band’s commissioned work “Fidelitas.” The Oct. 10 program will include “Hymn and Celebration,” also by Mahr, “First Suite in E-flat,” by Gustav Holst, “Two Hymns” by Pavel Tchesnikov, “Be Thou My Vision” by Travis Cross and “Alleluia! Laudamus Te” by Alfred Reed.
The band will also perform for La Sierra church services earlier in the day.
Mahr, long-time conductor of the acclaimed St. Olaf Band at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn. and a professor of music at the college, has guest directed numerous ensembles including the U.S. Air Force Band, the U.S. Army Field Band and intercollegiate and all-state bands in 25 states. He is also conductor of the Minnesota Symphonic Winds.
In addition, Mahr is known as a prolific, award-winning composer of concert band music with more than 50 compositions to his credit. He has written music for many organizations including the American School Band Directors Association and the Air Force Band. According to a biographical account, Mahr is contracted for musical works through 2013.
Mahr originally created “Fidelitas” as an organ work. It included an organ recessional which Mahr titled “Fantasia on ‘Ode to Joy.’” He later developed and re-scored the work as “Fantasia in G” for concert band. The original organ processional he titled “Whither Thou Goest, I Shall Go,” based on the Scriptural passage in Ruth 1:16. Mahr intended to one day “return to this work …with the intention of also developing its material into a work for band. The commission from La Sierra University and Dr. Ken Narducci provided me this wonderful and highly appreciated opportunity,” Mahr stated in program notes.
Narducci met Mahr in 1998. He invited Mahr to lead a clinic at Pacific Union College in Angwin, where Narducci served as music professor and led various ensembles including the jazz band. Narducci invited Mahr back for another performance in 2004.
PR Contact: Larry Becker
Executive Director of University Relations
La Sierra University